Plumb the Depths

Prestige (Thailand) - - CONTENTS -

Space may be home to var­i­ous alien realms, each one weird and fan­tas­tic, but an equally won­drous world lies be­neath our oceans’ sur­faces. The scenes de­picted in the re­cent Aqua­man film may be fic­tional, but they aren’t far from re­al­ity; pres­sure, salin­ity and myr­iad other fac­tors have made the oceans’ depths unique sys­tems unto them­selves and ex­tremely hos­tile to those who aren’t adapted to them.

De­spite so, hu­man­ity’s pen­chant for ex­plo­ration knows no bounds. In 1960, an ex­pe­di­tion was made to reach Chal­lenger Deep, the bot­tom of the Mar­i­ana Trench and the deep­est known point on Earth. The Swiss-de­signed and Ital­ian-built bathy­scaphe Tri­este ac­com­plished the feat with its two-man crew, div­ing 10,916m be­low sea level to reach it. Strapped to its hull was the Rolex Deep Sea Special ex­per­i­men­tal watch, which en­tered the pitch- dark abyss and sur­faced with nei­ther a tim­ing nor re­li­a­bil­ity is­sue.

For over half a cen­tury, no at­tempt was made to re­visit Chal­lenger Deep. On March 26, 2012, how­ever, Cana­dian film-maker, ex­plorer and Rolex Tes­ti­monee James Cameron un­der­took the chal­lenge by pi­lot­ing a sub­mersible aptly chris­tened the Deepsea Chal­lenger back into the Mar­i­ana Trench. In­ci­den­tally, “James Cameron’s Aqua­man” was a story arc through an en­tire sea­son of En­tourage in 2005 (in the hbo se­ries, the film even smashed Spi­der-man’s open­ing week­end box of­fice record). Some­one else (Aus­tralian di­rec­tor James Wan) ended up di­rect­ing the su­per­hero flick re­leased last De­cem­ber, but Cameron’s plunge into the depths was no less im­pres­sive, as the Deepsea Chal­lenger was fit­ted with mod­ern equip­ment to col­lect spec­i­mens, vi­su­als and sci­en­tific data.

Rolex was, of course, well poised to repeat its per­for­mance by ac­com­pa­ny­ing Cameron on his odyssey – the man­u­fac­ture’s watches are con­stantly be­ing im­proved upon, and new tech­nolo­gies and watch­mak­ing tech­niques would al­low it to cre­ate a time­piece that’s even more ro­bust than its pre­de­ces­sor. To that end, a new ex­per­i­men­tal watch, the Rolex Deepsea Chal­lenge, was spe­cially de­signed and built to prove Rolex’s ex­per­tise in ex­treme wa­ter­proof­ness. The time­piece was strapped to the Deepsea Chal­lenger’s ro­botic ma­nip­u­la­tor arm and, like the watch be­fore it, with­stood the de­scent into Chal­lenger Deep’s crush­ing depths – and the sub­se­quent as­cent – while keep­ing per­fect time ev­ery step of the way.

Nei­ther the Rolex Deep Sea Special nor the Rolex Deepsea Chal­lenge are com­mer­cially pro­duced, since they are ex­per­i­men­tal time­pieces built for a sin­gu­lar purpose. In lieu of these ex­treme ex­am­ples of wa­ter­proof­ness, how­ever, one can opt for the Oys­ter Per­pet­ual Rolex Deepsea, which forms Rolex’s trin­ity of dive watches along­side the Oys­ter Per­pet­ual Sub­mariner and Oys­ter Per­pet­ual Sea-dweller.

En­gi­neered to be wa­ter­proof to 3,900m and tested with an ad­di­tional 25 per­cent safety mar­gin, the Rolex Deepsea is the most ro­bust dive watch of­fered by the man­u­fac­ture. It was first in­tro­duced in 2008 and re­ceived a sig­nif­i­cant up­date in 2018. The lat­est ref­er­ence comes with an up­graded de­sign, and is pow­ered by one of Rolex’s lat­est move­ments with im­proved time­keep­ing, ro­bust­ness and re­li­a­bil­ity.

Hu­man­ity will con­tinue to probe the oceans’ depths, of course, and Cameron’s ex­pe­di­tion is but one chap­ter of this story. What­ever comes next, how­ever, we can be sure that Rolex will likely have an im­por­tant part to play.

The Deepsea Chal­lenger

James Cameron emerg­ing from the Deepsea Chal­lenger af­ter the solo dive

Rolex Deepsea Chal­lenge

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